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Alexandria Aldermen Take First Reading Action on Ordinance to Increase Water and Sewer Rates

June 28, 2011
Dwayne Page

Due to rate increases passed down from the Smith County Utility District and to get their own city water and sewer fund out of the red, the Alexandria Aldermen Tuesday night adopted an ordinance on first reading to increase rates.

Second and final reading passage of the ordinance will be scheduled at the next meeting on Tuesday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Alexandria City Hall, following a public hearing.

City Attorney Vester Parsley reads ordinance as Alexandria Aldermen Vote to Increase Water and Sewer Rates from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Under the plan, the minimum bill for Alexandria water and sewer customers would increase by a total of ten dollars per month, going from $29.50 to $39.50.

The rate for Alexandria water customers would increase from $14.75 to $19.75 for a minimum bill up to 2,000 gallons. Customers would pay an extra 70 cents per additional 100 gallons of usage. The minimum sewer bill up to 2,000 gallons would also increase by $5.00, going from $14.75 to $19.75.

Water customers outside the corporate limits would see their rates jump from $21.30 to $28.52 per month for a minimum bill of up to 2,000 gallons. Customers would pay an extra 70 cents per additional 100 gallons of usage per month.

The ordinance states that the municipality of the Town of Alexandria is forced to increase the rates "due to the rate increases from the Smith County Utility District and to meet the financial obligations of the Water and Sewer Departments". The City of Alexandria purchases its water supply from the Smith County Utility District.

The increase will be effective upon passage on second and final reading in July.

Under state law, if a utility's water and sewer fund operates in the red for two years in a row, the state could force the utility to raise rates to make it self supporting. Mayor Ria Baker said the city's water and sewer fund ran in the red this past year.

Members of the Alexandria council are Aldermen Pat Jackson, Tony Tarpley, Addie Farley, Derrick Baker, and Darrell Dixon. Baker was absent Tuesday night. Vester Parsley is the Alexandria city attorney.

County Writes Off Bad Debts Owed to DeKalb EMS

June 28, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night voted to write off over $200,000 in bad debts owed to the ambulance service.

County Mayor Mike Foster said this is being done for accounting purposes and efforts will continue to collect. "I have a list of write-offs, $277, 280. I would ask that we let (County attorney) Hilton (Conger) look it over and that it be adopted as a write-off, subject to his inspection. There will still be an effort made to collect it. These are not deemed uncollectible. They're still collectible. Its just a legal procedure to where we write off the balance. The (state) auditor tells us we have to do it. We've been pleasantly surprised by the ambulance service in that we thought it would lose about $300,000 a year, plus we had to purchase an ambulance each year. This year it is actually about breaking even. We're collecting roughly $900,000 and expending roughly $900,000," said Foster.

In other business, caution lights may soon be erected at the intersection of US 70 and highway 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant, where severl serious traffic accidents have occurred in recent years, the latest being last Saturday.

The county has been making plans to put light there for several months. The state has authorized the county to proceed at the county's expense and Monday night, the county commission voted to seek bids for the project."I have an estimate from Stansell Electric. Their estimate is $27,583. This would include overhead flashers on wood poles at the intersection. Its to put up caution lights on either side of highway 70 and stop lights highway 83. I need a motion from you to bid the caution lights," said County Mayor Mike Foster. The commission gave its approval.

The county commission, several months ago, also voted to look in the possibility of erecting street lights to better illuminate two other intersections at highway 70 and Hurricane Ridge Road and at highway 70 and Dry Creek Road near Dowelltown. But Foster said that would be a more difficult project to undertake because of state requirements. "The state has said we would have to get somebody to come and conduct a survey to tell us how many street lights we need at those dark intersections. Its ridiculous because all we're trying to do is illuminate two or three dangerous intersections. I more or less didn't do any more about it because they told us it would probably be about $6,000 to do the study. All we want to do is put up two street lights", said Foster.

Meanwhile, the county commission adopted a continuing budget resolution to keep county government operating past the end of the current fiscal year June 30 until a new budget is approved.

County Mayor Foster has scheduled budget committee meetings for July 5th, 7th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 18th, 19th, and 21st at 6:30 p.m. at the courthouse. He said the budget must be adopted by the county commission no later than August 15th.

TDOT Statewide "Projects Bus Tour" Makes First Stop in DeKalb County

June 28, 2011
Dwayne Page

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer began his statewide "TDOT Projects Tour" Tuesday and the first stop was in DeKalb County.

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer and Chief Engineer Paul Degges from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Several local and state officials joined the Commissioner and other TDOT representatives on the bus tour locally to view Hurricane bridge, where a rehabilitation construction project is now underway, and to Sligo bridge, where a replacement construction contract is expected to be awarded later this year as part of TDOT's "Three Year Program".

TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges at Hurricane Bridge from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Among those on the DeKalb County bus tour with Commissioner Schroer were State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, County Mayor Mike Foster, Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson, and other interested local persons.

During the bus ride and at the bridge locations, TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges and other transportation officials discussed the specifics of both local projects.

The Sligo project, which has been funded in the 2011-12 state budget, calls for replacement of the existing overhead truss bridge which is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The new bridge will be located a few feet to the north of the existing bridge, which will remain open to traffic during construction. The new bridge will be a continuous welded plate girder design with a composite concrete deck slab and will be 1,545 feet in length. The project typical section is two-12 foot lanes with 10 foot shoulders. The total project length including bridge and approaches is approximately 0.8 mile. The total estimated cost of the project including engineering, right of way, and construction is $31-million.

Roadway and bridge plans are being finalized. Discussion is being held with the US Army Corps of Engineers concerning Right of Way easements and the permit application is nearing completion. The project is scheduled to go to construction in late 2011.

TDOT Officials said work on the Hurricane bridge consists of a certain amount of strengthening to the steel truss members and some additional stringers which actually support the concrete deck. The existing rails and deck will eventually be removed from the bridge and replaced with a lite weight concrete deck. The bridge will also be repainted .

In October, 2010 TDOT awarded the bid to OCCI Incorporated at $26.9 million. The contractor has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project.

TDOT's Region Two Bus Tour is the first of four events that will be held this summer in East, Middle, and West Tennessee. This portion of the Region Two Tour will wind up in Cannon County on Friday, July 1

For more information on the "TDOT Projects Tour", please visit www.tn.gov/tdot/tour/

Two Arrests Made in Recent Thefts

June 27, 2011
Dwayne Page
Richard Spencer Raby
Justin Dale Estes
Sean William Cavanaugh

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made two arrests in recent thefts.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 23 year old Richard Spencer Raby of Brush Creek is charged with two counts of burglary and one count of theft of property over $1,000. His bond totals $11,000 and he will be in court on August 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 11, Raby allegedly entered a building on Oakley Road without the owner's consent. Two Suzuki motorcycles were taken, valued at over $1,000. The motorcycles were recovered at Raby's residence in Smith County.

Raby returned to the same property two days later on Monday, June 13 and allegedly entered a building, belonging to the same victim. This time the victim saw Raby coming out of the building and later identified him in a photo lineup. Raby was arrested on Thursday, June 16.

Meanwhile, 20 year old Justin Dale Estes of Judkins Lane, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $500. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on June 30.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, June 16 Estes allegedly took two hot water heaters from a residence on Judkins Lane valued at $700 without the owner's consent. He then sold them for cash at a recycling business in DeKalb County. Estes allegedly admitted to committing the theft. He was arrested on Friday, June 24.

28 year old Ashley J. Ferrell of Shady Drive, Smithville was issued a citation on Thursday, June 16 for no headlights and driving on a suspended license. His court date is August 10

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, June 16 at around 11:30 p.m., a deputy was patrolling on Highway 56 north when he spotted a vehicle driving without any headlights on. The officer stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Ferrell and a computer check revealed his license to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation.

30 year old Jason Wayne Connell of Nashville was issued a citation on Monday, June 20 for driving on a suspended license. His court date is July 28. Sheriff Ray reports that on Monday, June 20, an officer stopped Connell for questioning on a trespassing complaint. A computer check of his drivers license revealed that they were suspended in Florida.

45 year old Sean William Cavanaugh of Oak Drive, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. Cavanaugh's bond is $3,000 and his court date is August 4.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, June 25 a deputy was called by another officer working a wreck on Sparta Highway to check on a possible intoxicated driver in the area. The officer made contact with the driver, Cavanaugh and detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Cavanaugh submitted to several field sobriety tasks and performed poorly on them. He refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

25 year old Caleb Rigsby of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown was issued a citation on Sunday, June 26 for driving on a suspended license and failure to yield. His court date is August 10

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, June 26 at 9:55 p.m. an officer was patrolling on Highway 70 west when he spotted a vehicle pulling out of the intersection of Old Snow Hill Road and Highway 70. The vehicle failed to yield to on-coming traffic. The deputy pulled over the automobile and made contact with the driver, Rigsby. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended in Warren County.

Pre-Registration Deadlines Nearing for 13th Annual Fiddler 5K

June 27, 2011
Dwayne Page
Tecia Puckett Pryor

Pre-registration deadlines are looming for the 13th Annual Fiddler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run which will be held on Saturday, July 2 at 7 a.m. in downtown Smithville. All proceeds from the race will be used in building the 4th Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County, which will be constructed this fall.

Tecia Pryor, Race Director, said if you would like to register for the race, you can print out a registration form at www.fiddler5k.com. "Also you can pick it up my office which is 312 West Broad Street next to Griffin's Fruit Market. The deadline for registering by paper is Monday, June 27. If you want to pre-register on-line you can do that at www.active.com. Search for our race on there. The on-line pre-registration is available until Wednesday, June 29 at midnight. By pre-registering, it'll save you a few bucks and some headaches on race morning. If you would like to get involved with the race but don't necessarily want to run the course or walk in the one mile fun run, please let me know. We can always use volunteers to help stuff goody bags, get the t-shirts ready, or help with race day registration and working the food table. Call 597-7370".

For more information and a registration form, log onto www.fiddler5K.com or call Tecia Pryor at 597-7370. You may also register online at http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1957397. Come run and have fun for a great cause!

Kitchen Fire Causes Damage to Mathis Home

June 27, 2011
Dwayne Page

A Dowelltown couple, after being away from home for several hours, discovered a fire there when they returned Saturday afternoon.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:33 p.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that Steve Mathis and his wife, who reside at 7528 Nashville Highway, Dowelltown had left home around noon to go to Murfreesboro. As they returned around 5:30 p.m. and opened the garage door to park their vehicle, they saw that the garage was filled with smoke. As the Mathis' entered the home, they found fire and smoke coming from the kitchen and called 911.

Chief Green said firefighters made entry into the home and found the fire in the kitchen near where a dishwasher and coffee maker were located. Fire damage was contained to that portion of the kitchen although heat and smoke spread throughout the house. No one was injured.

Members of the Main Station, Liberty Station, and Tanker #1 responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Another Crash at Dangerous Intersection Results in Serious Injuries

June 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Three Franklin Teens Injured In Crash (WJLE Photo)
Smithville man and his mother injured in wreck (WJLE Photo)
Nissan Pathfinder comes to rest on its side(WJLE Photo)
Scene of Crash near Kilgore's Restaurant (WJLE Photo)

Five people were injured in a Saturday afternoon crash at the intersection of U.S. 70 and State Highway 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:41 p.m.

Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 48 year old Conrad Walker of Smithville, driving east on Highway 70 in a 1996 GMC pickup truck, was making a left turn onto Highway 83 when he crossed into the path of a westbound 2003 Nissan Pathfinder, driven by 19 year old Erica Hall Haselton of Franklin. Both vehicles were badly damaged in the wreck. The Pathfinder came to rest on its side off the highway near a fireworks tent.

Walker was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. His mother, 66 year old Nelda Frances Walker of Smithville, who was a passenger in the pickup, was airlifted from near the scene by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Haselton and passengers of her Pathfinder, 18 year old Erin Ashley Ford and Haselton's 15 year old brother, all of Franklin, were also injured. The boy was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS while Haselton and Ford were taken there by a private vehicle.

Lieutenant Maynard said Walker was issued a citation for failure to yield and Haselton received a citation for having expired tags on her vehicle. He said all five persons were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash and the air bags in both vehicles deployed upon impact.

DeKalb EMS Moving Nelda Frances Walker to Helicopter from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Members of the Cookeville Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, First Responder Charlie Parker, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Sparta Man Airlifted After Friday Night Wreck

June 25, 2011
Dwayne Page

A 45 year old Sparta man was airlifted after his truck went off the road and struck a tree late Friday night near 2512 Sparta Highway (Highway 70 east).

Central dispatch received the call at 11:14 p.m.

Trooper Mark Jones of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Johnny Lynn Etheridge was driving east in a 1997 Ford F250 when he went off the left side of the highway, down an embankment, and struck a small tree. After impact, a portion of the tree broke and fell onto the truck. Etheridge was removed from the vehicle and taken by DeKalb EMS to a landing zone near the scene where he was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Members of the Midway and Short Mountain Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department also responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

County Firefighters Called to Indian Creek Youth Camp

June 25, 2011
Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the Indian Creek Youth Camp Thursday night to a building on Cabin Circle Drive that houses an art room studio.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said that campers returning from the lake spotted smoke coming from the building and reported it. Camp staff on site snuffed out the small blaze using fire extinguishers.

According the Chief Green, someone using the room to make ceramic crafts had placed their project in a kiln before leaving for the night, which is apparently customary for this type of work. But later the 220 electrical outlet, where the kiln was plugged in, shorted out sparking the small blaze. The building received mostly smoke although there was some minor damage to one wall. No one was injured.

The Liberty Station of the county fire department arrived on the scene. Two other stations, Temperance Hall and the Main Station were enroute but were sent back when it became clear the small blaze was under control. Firefighters set up fans to clear the smoke from the building.

Warren County Man Killed In Motorcycle Crash at Dibrell

June 24, 2011
Dwayne Page

A 61 year old Warren County man was killed Friday morning when his motorcycle crashed into a backhoe on Highway 56 in the Dibrell Community.

Dead is J.D.Wilson of the Greenhill Community.

The accident occurred around 8:34 a.m. at the intersection of Highway 56 and Sullivan Road.

According to Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Wilson was traveling south on Highway 56 on a 2004 Honda motorcycle when he ran into the right side of a 1992 John Deere backhoe belonging to the Warren County Utility District, driven by 37 year old Marshall Green of the Irving College Community. Green was crossing Highway 56 from the east side to get to the west side of Sullivan Road.

Green was not injured in the crash but Wilson, who was wearing a helmet, reportedly died at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation by Sergeant Prater and Trooper Al Seitner of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.


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